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Reproductions of Cultural Properties

Clay Figurine ([Dogū]) with Goggle-Like Eyes



Title Clay Figurine ([Dogū]) with Goggle-Like Eyes

Original Work

Designation Important Cultural Property
Artist/Excavation Site Found in Tsugaru City, Aomori
Collection Tokyo National Museum
Medium Clay
Date Jōmon period, 1,000–400 BC
Collection Ref. No. J-38392


This dogu clay figurine was made during the Jomon period. It is one of the most famous dogu figurines in Japan. It was found during the Meiji era and named the 'Dogu with Goggle-shaped Eyes' because its eyes resemble goggles worn to protect the eyes from the glare of snow. However, this is now believed to be just an exaggerated depiction of the eyes. The ears, nose, and mouth are quite small compared to the large eyes. Furthermore, stubby legs and arms are attached to a broad-shouldered torso with a narrow waist. A closer inspection reveals traces of red coloring around the head and so on. It is assumed the entire surface was originally painted red. Dogu figurines are also valuable sources of information about contemporary Jomon fashions. For example, it is thought the crown-shaped projection on the head shows how women wore their hair tied up with a comb attached. The adornments around the neck are also said to represent necklaces and chest ornaments. The enjoyment of this dogu figurine is enhanced by trying to imagine how the Jomon folk used to dress. Dogu figurines emerged during the Incipient Jomon period and they always depicted women. This is apparently because women created and nurtured life, with the figurines subsequently used in rituals to pray for safe births, prosperous descendants, and bounteous harvests.